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BRIEF November 25, 2020

Croatia: Strategic Transformation in Agriculture and Rural Space


Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) on
 Strategic Transformation in Agriculture and Rural Space


1. What is the assignment that the World Bank received?

In 2018, the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) requested World Bank support to strengthen existing national capacity in evidence-based strategic planning in agriculture and rural development, fisheries and aquaculture, with the objective to accelerate the transformation of Croatia’s agri-food system. The Strategic Transformation in Agriculture and Rural Space (STARS) RAS technical assistance was developed to support Croatia for the next EU Programming Period (2021-2027) of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The STARS RAS technical assistance aimed to support the MoA in unlocking the country’s vast agricultural and aquaculture potential by helping increase investments in agriculture and aquaculture for the creation of economic opportunities in rural areas, including through pilot projects. With the objective to support the transformation from primary commodities to value added products, collaboration with a range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia, local communities, producer associations and other relevant associations and networks remains of paramount importance.

2. What was the role of the World Bank?

The role of the World Bank has been to provide advisory support and guidance for the formulation of the strategic visions for the National Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (NARDS), and the Multiannual Aquaculture Development Plan (MADP) for the post-2020 period.

The main activities included:

  • Analytical work on the efficiency, effectiveness (impact) and equity (distribution) of public spending in agriculture and rural development, as well as diagnostic work on fisheries and aquaculture in Croatia. The aim of this activity was to generate concrete evidence for the formulation of the strategic vision for the development of the sectors. In addition, this activity, jointly with numerous stakeholder consultations, informed the preparation of a theory of change-driven strategies and results frameworks with relevant indicators tracking progress towards strategic objectives.
  • Advisory support in the formulation of agriculture, rural development and aquaculture sector strategic visions. The strategic visions addressed sector challenges and opportunities, and have been built bottom-up, using a priority setting methodology to rank sector needs as identified by the analytical work and confirmed by many stakeholders. The aim of this activity has also been to develop a detailed roadmap for the operationalization of the strategic visions and results frameworks embedded in the NARDS and the MADP, with specific actions outlined under each objective.
  • Guidance to the MoA for the operationalization of practical solutions for challenges identified in the strategic vision documents. This activity addressed specific issues on the ground, such as i) Pilot 1 - understanding the challenges and opportunities for aggregation of agricultural production in Croatia (the role of producer organizations and food hubs) to foster the inclusion of small producers in value chains and strengthen the linkages between Croatian producers and markets, and ii) Pilot 2 – enhancement of evidence-based decision making by linking policy to the agroecological characteristics of Croatia to improve the targeting of support while keeping in mind the biophysical potential of production and internalizing climate and environmental factors.
  • Capacity building of MoA staff and key stakeholders. This activity encompassed targeted training activities, including workshops and study visits, as well as through participation in the analytical and advisory activities developed by the World Bank team, ensuring both knowledge sharing, capacity strengthening and ownership of the joint work. 

3. What were the key deliverables of the STARS project?

The key deliverables under the STARS RAS were logically sequenced and delivered in a planned order to provide inputs for the next step and included:

  1. Analysis of public spending and diagnostic in agriculture and rural development and Capture fisheries and aquaculture,
  2. Methodology document; Report on stakeholder consultation results,
  3. Draft Strategic vision for NARDS with a Proposed Roadmap and Draft Strategic vision for MADP with a Proposed Roadmap,
  4. Pilot projects (Agri-food marketplace and Agroecological planning) and,
  5. NARDS and MADP implementation capacity with the MoA to ensure the sustainability of the project results and transformation of the sector.

All STARS RAS deliverables are publicly accessible in the Croatian language, ensuring transparency and visibility of key activities and outputs at:

Key activities and outputs were jointly presented by the World Bank and the MoA teams outside of Croatia, including at the European Commission Expert Group for Monitoring and Evaluating the CAP (GREXE) and the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development in Brussels.

Outreach activities were key in the overall success of the STARS technical assistance, with stakeholder consultations held throughout the country to present and discuss the results of the Draft Strategic Vision and Roadmap for the NARDS and the MADP. Consultations were attended by over 150 participants from a wide range of sectors including central and regional governments, local government bodies, academia, private sector, financial institutions and networks. Furthermore, about 2,000 stakeholders in agriculture and 130 stakeholders in aquaculture participated in a nation-wide online survey which took place in March to June and December 2019, respectively.

The STARS RAS was implemented in a close partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture of Croatia and at the closing event held on 11 April 2021, the Ministry took full ownership over the Project results.


Background Papers

Leaflet (Download PDF) | HR